Building Communities of Trust

Last week, “the Feds” visited Pioneer High School to present an initiative collaborating with cities to prevent a terrorist action. They distributed a brochure titled “Building Communities of Trust.”

The Feds included the Department of Justice and the FBI. I attended to hear first-hand the details and the comments from attendees that were assembled. Most of the attendees represented various groups like the ACLU, South Bay Islamic Association, Little Saigon Foundation, Labor Unions, Silicon Valley DeBug, NAACP, local law enforcement and the San Jose Independent Police Auditor. Several of these groups are also on the police chief’s Community Advisory Board.

The Feds’ goal nationally is, if in the line of duty police observe suspicious behavior of a person or a group, the local police pass it on to the Feds. The idea is that if all cities participate than enough collected data on suspicious behavior might result in an analyst spotting a trend and thus investigating the behavior(s) further.

There were concerns raised about privacy and a possible police state. The fact is that our daily routines are already tracked and that data is sold to others. I am referring to all of our credit/debit card transactions where all of our transactions are data mined for what we buy including brand, where we buy and what time. This is a much more comprehensive collection of data than random observations from the police. The internet is another area where we have given up privacy.

There was also a concern from attendees that this data would be used for racial profiling. The Feds said that most of the data that comes in today does not even have a name associated with it and they are only gathering data about suspicious behaviors, whomever it involves.

Other concerns that were raised that all the presenters were Caucasian, followed by questions like: What is the redress procedure if incorrect observations are made of an individual? Will there be sensitivity training of police by race? Who has access to the data? Will this involve collection of data on minors?  How would they make sure that data collected does not end up of having disproportionate numbers from a certain race?

Cities do not have to participate so San Jose will have to decide whether or not it should opt in.

Do you think San Jose should opt in or opt out? An alternative might be using technology like 24/7 video surveillance of sensitive areas, as is done in other cities nationally and globally.

I think San Jose should participate, since data in a silo is less valuable than data that is aggregated and shared. Cities need help from the Feds on possible terrorist events since they are looking at the big picture, but the Feds need the eyes and ears of individuals to connect the dots. If cities are able to participate in other federal initiatives like affordable housing, environmental compliance and transportation requirements than certainly we should participate in avoiding a tragedy that could rock the local economy and individual freedom of movement. If a terrorist action can be avoided by simply passing on information about suspicious behavior we would be so fortunate.

19 Comments

  1. “Other concerns that were raised that all the presenters were Caucasian…”

    “Caucasian” suffers all the defects for a demographic label that labels like Negro and Mongoloid also suffer.  It is surprising to see it brandished in a political essay.

    In addition, “Caucasian” is a well-known element of the anti-white narrative because it strips the diverse white Americans of their diversity and their nationality.

    Let’s shelve this inappropriate label right along with Negro and Mongoloid.

  2. Instead of taking in the information/knowledge…the audience was more concerned about the race of the presenters…..no wonder the city of San Jose is a joke. The city won’t do anything involving the Feds, look at all the outrage caused by the two Border Patrol Agents assisting the city for free because of the city’s gang issue

    • You’re joking,
      I agree that these groups are out of touch with how bad the gang problem is here in San Jose. Instead of blasting the Chief of Police for bringing in help to solve the gang problem, they are worried about undocumented immigrants. It doesn’t make any sense to me. The Chief of Police has said repeatedly that the SJPD isn’t focusing on any one’s immigration status, but it seems to be going into one ear and out of the other.

      I don’t think the race of the presenters should be a factor in who helps our city either.

  3. Pierluigi,
    This should be the least of your concerns. Soon there won’t be much of a police force so this will be a moot point.

    This city, on your watch, is imploding. Local terrorists, aka gangs, are making a fast and furious comeback. Worry about that. Worry a lot about that. Our cops don’t have time to pass on suspicious information to the feds. You are more out of touch than I thought with what goes on with what goes on at the patrol level if you think they do.

    Our murders are already 50% higher than all of last year. While our city tries to kiss the ass and pacify
    groups such as the ACLU, South Bay Islamic Association, Little Saigon Foundation, Labor Unions, Silicon Valley DeBug, NAACP, our citizens are being terrorized by the thugs these groups promote.

    It is really time to move from San Jose. This is not a good place to live anymore. Good luck with making this a better place to live with your data mining.

    • Tom said, “Our murders are already 50% higher than all of last year. While our city tries to kiss the ass and pacify groups such as the ACLU, South Bay Islamic Association, Little Saigon Foundation, Labor Unions, Silicon Valley DeBug, NAACP, our citizens are being terrorized by the thugs these groups promote.”

      I agree. Not one member of any of these groups attended the demonstration and community policing effort held by Pastor Sonny Lara and his group Firehouse, to drive Pimps and Prostitutes out of downtown San Jose, even though they were invited.

      These groups only seem to want to point fingers, play the blame game, but have ZERO intention of being part of the solution. True community activism means getting off your butt and doing the dirty work. What it doesn’t mean is sitting on your butt complaining about everyone and everything.

      My hat is off to Pastor Lara, his wife Linda, and the Firehouse for taking the lead to bring our community together to create the change we all want to see. Their effort to support our Police Department during this critical time, to protect our neighborhoods from violent crime, and to bring our community together is what TRUE activism, and Community Policing is all about.

  4. PO,
    Thank you for the informative post. I agree, opt in!

    Secondly, while some of the concerns that were raised are valid, the race of presenters is a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. Who cares? As long as they are educated, skilled, and experienced to perform that duty, that is what matters most. These people need to stop with the hypocritical racial profiling already! They need to start practicing what they preach.

  5. City of San Jose Memorandum
    From: Office of the Chief
    To: Intelligence Unit
    Subject: Surveillance Request

    Homeland Security has requested around-the-clock surveillance at 1220 Orwell Loop, a fourplex occupied thusly:

    Unit #1—a family of illegal immigrants (8 total residents)
    Unit #2—a 22 year-old, unemployed marijuana dealer
    Unit #3—a 33 year-old shoe-salesman, his wife, and infant daughter
    Unit $4—a 41 year-old African-American parolee (priors of robbery and murder)

    Please remind your surveillance team members that this department does not enforce immigration laws, is indifferent to marijuana use/sales/cultivation, and has, as part of a cooperative effort with the NAACP, adopted a hands-off approach to the supervision of black parolees. For political reasons care must be exercised to prevent being detected by the occupants of units 1, 2, and 4.

    The target of the investigation is the adult male occupant of Unit #3, a handgun owner who has ties with an all-white group of strict constructionists who support radical reforms at the federal level. This person, who has in the past has attended Tea Party events and contributed funds to outlaw gay marriage, is also suspected of being a devout Christian. Although at this time he has broken no laws he is to be considered armed and dangerous.

    Be advised, subject also believed under surveillance by agents of the Anti-defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    (this memorandum approved by City Manager Figone)

    • > The target of the investigation is the adult male occupant of Unit #3, a handgun owner who has ties with an all-white group of strict constructionists who support radical reforms at the federal level. This person, who has in the past has attended Tea Party events and contributed funds to outlaw gay marriage, is also suspected of being a devout Christian. Although at this time he has broken no laws he is to be considered armed and dangerous.

      Yikes!

      Too close to the truth.

  6. PO thanks to you and Chuckie, we no longer have a police force to observe any suspicious activity.  Why don’t you go layoff another 66 officers.  But maybe the 49 rehired fire fights can report back.

  7. The fed’s should be watching the mayor, city council, city manager. They are the biggest crooks in the city the way they spend tax payer dollars. Open the book’s up and you will find all the mismanagement and unethical polices.

    Hey did you here that CalPers gained back over 20% on it’s return. I wonder how the city retirement system is doing? I’m sure were till using 2009 numbers.The city leadership should be put in prison. Hurry up Fed’s start watching!

    • The books are open, read the budget dcuments.  There is no hidden money.  As for the retirement funds let’s hope they have made some gains, but they still must be adjusted as they are not sustainable.  Just the Fire Dept retirement plan at 3% at 20 years is too expensive and must be changed to a more sustainable model.

  8. BS Monitor

    Great letter and accurate that many community groups would like SJPD to ignore law breaking residents but target law abiding citizens because they do not fit these groups liberal racial profile or agree with progressive agenda

    Can’t We All just get along – apparently not since ACLU, South Bay Islamic Association, Little Saigon Foundation, Silicon Valley DeBug, NAACP community groups ignore or excuse thugs terrorized our neighborhoods, promoting hypocritical racial profiling and automatically assuming that 1/3 San Jose residents are guilty of racial discrimination because they do not look like or act like members of these community groups

  9. One of the things that I find most disturbing about this whole manufactured controversy with respect to the immigration issue is the subtext that the rule of law, impartially applied, does not matter – especially if you are a member of a ‘protected class’. This is the other side of race-based policing – the side where, if you have the right credentials, the right first or last name, you don’t have to be held to the same standard of behavior that others – those not of that select group of which you are a part – are held.

    This is not how I was raised. I was raised to believe that the law is the law, that it is – or should be – a reflection of a system of ethics which grants to all people certain fundamental rights and which measures the behavior of one person using the same set of criteria as another person is judged. I was raised to believe that a person ought to be judged solely on their speech and actions, regardless of ethnicity.

    I was raised to believe that these principles are the essence, the foundation, of a truly color-blind society, and it is only by careful, deliberate and equal application of these principles that we can have a fair and just society. I realize this is the ideal, and that the ideal – any ideal – is often unobtainable. That does not, however, absolve society of the responsibility to pursue that ideal. And, it most especially does not absolve police officers – the front line in the administration of justice in our society – from the responsibility of always endeavoring to apply the law equally, impartially, and carefully – with absolutely no regard whatsoever to the ethnicity of anyone with whom they come into contact.

    Sadly, this is not what is done – in San Jose, in California or nationally, and the immigration issue is one of many to which I could point as symptomatic of the other side of the ‘race/bias-based policing’ coin. The truly asinine thing about the illegal immigration thing is that it has been made to be a racial issue. But seriously, stop and think about it. Does being Hispanic have anything at all to do with whether or not you are more likely to be an illegal immigrant? I think not. It’s an issue of geography and socio-economic conditions. Do you really think that if it was Cambodians, Filipinos, Rwandans, or the citizens of any other third world country who lived in Latin America, rather than ‘Hispanics’ that it wouldn’t be that other ethnicity which had transferred 17 million persons illegally from Latin America to the U.S. Of course not. It’s geography, and socio-economics, pure and simple.

    Therefore, enforcement of current immigration law has vastly more to do with our nation’s sovereign right to control who comes into our country and how many, to protect the interests, jobs, safety and security of its citizens above all others, and to ensure the ability of the populace as a whole to thrive and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit (though not necessarily attainment) of happiness.

    Lastly, I am continually shocked, appalled and disgusted by the hypocritical, deceptive and self-serving rhetoric which emanates from my people – Hispanics – and those who purport to advocate for them when it comes to the issue of enforcement of existing immigration law. Distilled down to the essence of their arguments, they invariably feel that *American* immigration law – or the enforcement of same – is somehow unjust, as opposed to that of any other nation (to include their nation of origin) is somehow unjust simply because it inconveniences them or is somehow inconsistent with the sense of entitlement which allows them to violate the sovereignty of a neighboring nation.

  10. Pierluigi,

    What happens if an analyst spots a trend that happens to be (for all intents and purposes) a gang related trend of illegal activity and it is investigated further.  Will the city receive federal aid through prosecution using federal RICO statutes? Will the feds cooperate with the local police in a state sponsored prosecution?

    Consecutive jail terms for smaller crimes tried under state statutes and federal statutes may serve to be an excellent deterrent against gang related crime.

    I don’t know if opting in or out is the answer. What are the terms of this deal?  Where can more information be reviewed? The Dish looks interesting but there’s no salt or seasoning.  That alone is enough to be chopped raspberry